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The Underground Economy

It's been a long day, starting with the Chief Security Officer of Paypal and concluding with an address from the head of NATO's incident response centre. Visions of author, Tom Clancy's 'Op-Centre' which does exist.

The internet underground is alive and well and thriving and Gartner Research estimates its value as being around $3.2 billion annually. Contrast this with the estimated annual value of the United States and South American narcotics trade at $5.6 billion and you'll see why the internet is so attractive to serious and organised crime groups.

Tomorrow is going to be a hectic start. Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, is going to start the day with a keynote address on the ecrime problem facing our society and I'm juggling bids from Sky News, Voice of America, the BBC and Channel 4 News to squeeze into an already packed auditorium to film his speech and interview some of the experts from business, industry, banking and law-enforcement, here at the ecrime congress.

At the same time, word has it. that the Home Secretary is going to review the government's much criticised ID card project or at least water the proposals down considerably and so the whole shooting match appears to be focused on the Victoria Park Plaza Hotel at 9:00 am.

Who know, you might even see it on the news.

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Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



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I mentioned in the last post, the 1981 expedition that took in Median Saleh, the ruined Nabatean city in Saudi Arabia


A temple carved from the rock from Petra's sister city.

By coincidence, one of the most important train stations on the Hejaz railway sat next to the ruins and when Lawrence of Arabia blew the line in 1917, the trains were trapped there and are still there today, gathering dust and with "Krupp" on the engine casings.


One of the trains, sitting where T.E. Lawrence left themwith Dr Paul Garnett as the passenger

Below, you can see one of the fortified train stations that Lawrence attacked along the Hejaz railway between Damascus and Medina.



More photos Medain Saleh can be found on THIS Site - Apparently you can catch a tourist bus these days, rather different from risking life and limb to cross an unfriendly Saudi Arabia twenty years ago!